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When America First Met China

Tea, drugs, fortune and the 19th century high seas. We’ll look back to the exotic history of when America first met China.

William John Huggins - The opium ships at Lintin, China.

William John Huggins – The opium ships at Lintin, China.

America and China look at each other today as the two giants of a massively globalizing world.  Each wondering what the future brings.  Some answers may lie in the past.  When China was the grand, troubled empire.  When America was the whipper-snapper upstart.

Sailing clipper ships halfway round the world for China’s tea and porcelain.  Bringing furs and opium.  Taking desperate human labor – “coolies.”  Kowtowing and bullying. Making fortunes, and a legacy.

This hour, On Point:  When America first met China.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Eric Jay Dolin, author of the new book When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail.

Michael Hunt,  Everett H. Emerson Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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